Published on 05/26/2014

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Note: This article is over two years old. Information in this article may be out of date due to subsequent Oracle and/or rules changes. Proceed with caution.

I wanted to use Summer Bloom
for this image, but Wikipedia says no.
Stupid Wikipedia.
Hi, and welcome back to Cranial Insertion for our final article before the end of May, which means summer's just around the corner here in the Northern Hemisphere! And I'm impatient enough waiting for it that I got trapped for an hour in Wikipedia trying to find an excuse to make this the first article of summer. Sadly, it was all in vain, so James gets to hog all the summer sun for himself.

But until that time, I've brought you folks the last batch of spring rules questions! If you have any more, they'll have to wait until next year, but if you have any early summer rules questions, send them to us via zombie monkey courier by clicking on Moko to the left, or fill in that address line yourself with . Our Twitter account is @CranialTweet, so if they're short you can send them there too.

But for now, down to business!

Q: I have four Forests in play and cast Eureka, putting out Avenger of Zendikar, Forest, Forest (in that order). How many tokens do I get, and do they get any counters?

A: Avenger of Zendikar's token-making ability only counts the number of lands on the battlefield at the time it resolves, which will be well after Eureka has finished resolving and thus after you've put out those additional two Forests. So you'll get six Plant tokens.

As for whether or not they get counters, absolutely, unless for some strange reason you don't want them to. The Avenger's landfall ability will trigger for both Forests, since it'll enter the battlefield before they do. After Eureka's done resolving, you'll put both of those triggers, plus the Avenger's token-making ability, onto the stack in whatever order you like, so you can put the token-making ability on top to ensure that your tokens will be all ready when the time comes to hand out counters.

Q: I cast and resolve Vampire Nocturnus. Is there any chance for my opponent to "respond" to his top of the library buff, such as Lightning Bolting him?

A: Nope. The Nocturnus revealing the top card and getting the bonus are both the result of static abilities, which can't be responded to. There's no time when the Nocturnus is on the battlefield but the top card isn't revealed, and there's no time when the top card is black that the Nocturnus isn't getting the bonus, so there's no window for your opponent to successfully Bolt it. As long as that top card is black, anyway.

Q: In multiplayer, my opponent attacks with Inferno Titan and Thundermaw Hellkite. I have a 3/3 Beast token and an untapped Helm of Possession. Does my opponent have to announce who each of his creatures is attacking before the Titan's attack trigger resolves and attempts to kill my Beast, so that I may gain control of one of his creature with better knowledge of which creature is attacking which player?

A: Yes, he does. Your opponent must declare which opponent (or which planeswalker) each of his creatures is attacking as part of declaring them as attackers. You'll know what everything is attacking even before he chooses targets for the Titan's trigger, and definitely well before it resolves.

Q: I control an Underworld Coinsmith and a Xathrid Necromancer enchanted with a Gift of Immortality. My opponent Shocks the Necromancer and when it returns, Shocks it again immediately to prevent the Gift from reattaching. During the end step, will the Gift return to the battlefield in an attempt to find the now-gone Necromancer and trigger my Coinsmith's constellation ability?

A: Afraid not. If something's trying to put an Aura directly onto the battlefield attached to something specific, but that thing's no longer around, the Aura doesn't enter the battlefield unattached and then die—it just doesn't enter the battlefield at all. Your Gift will stay firmly in your graveyard, and you won't get a constellation trigger.

This also applies if something's putting an Aura directly onto the battlefield without specifying something specific for it to enchant. If there's nothing around that the Aura could legally enchant, it doesn't enter the battlefield at all. It just remains where it is instead.

At least it's not this bad...
Q: Creature, Enchanted Creature, and Enchantment Creature—what's the difference between the three? If I play Nyx Infusion, it says it enchants creature, but has an effect when the creature isn't an enchant creature? How does that creature go from an enchant creature to a creature?

A: All right, first let's break down the terminology.
  • A "Creature" is something that has the "Creature" card type, while an "Enchantment" is something that has the "Enchantment" card type. Usually, these types will be listed on the card's type line. For example, Pensive Minotaur is a creature, and Dictate of Karametra and Claim of Erebos are both enchantments.

  • An "Enchantment Creature" is something that has both of those types—they're both enchantments and creatures. Archetype of Courage, for example, has both of those types. It's both an enchantment and a creature. It's an Enchantment Creature.

  • An "Enchanted Creature" is a creature that has one or more Auras attached to it. When an Aura says "Enchanted creature", it means "the creature this Aura is attached to." For example, Holy Strength gives the creature it's attached to a +1/+2 bonus.

  • The phrase "Enchant [Something]" on an Aura is defining what kind of thing that Aura can be attached to. Claim of Erebos, for example, can only be attached to a creature. Market Festival can only be attached to a land.

All right, so now let's apply all that to Nyx Infusion. Nyx Infusion says "Enchant Creature", so that means it can only be attached to a creature, any creature. The other part says "Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 as long as it's an enchantment. Otherwise, it gets -2/-2." This means that as long as the creature that Nyx Infusion is attached to is also an enchantment, it gets +2/+2. But if it's not, it gets -2/-2 instead.

This means that if Nyx Infusion is attached to, say, Archetype of Courage, the Archetype gets +2/+2, because the Archetype is an enchantment in addition to being a creature. But if the Infusion were attached to, say, Pensive Minotaur, the Minotaur would get -2/-2, because the Minotaur is not an enchantment.

Q: I control a Grim Guardian and Dictate of Erebos. My opponent has bestowed a Gnarled Scarhide onto my creature, but his only creature is an Arbor Colossus that I would like to see sacrificed to the Dictate. In response to her casting another creature, I cast Feast of Dreams on my Merchant. Does my opponent end up controlling the un-bestowed Scarhide in time to sacrifice it instead of the Giant I had hoped to see go to the graveyard?

A: Sadly for you, yes. As soon as your Guardian has left the battlefield, the Scarhide that was enchanting it stops being an Aura and becomes a creature again—there's no time at all in between, and definitely not enough time for your Dictate's ability to resolve.

Q: So with Peel from Reality there has to be two targets. Does that mean Exhume needs a creature in both players' graveyards?

A: Nope! The difference is that Peel from Reality targets the creatures it's going to affect, while Exhume does not. As a targeted spell, you can't cast Peel from Reality unless you can choose legal targets for it, but since Exhume isn't targeted, it has no such limitations—you can cast it even when there's no creatures at all in any graveyard! (Though why you'd want to I'm not sure.)

Q: Eidolon of the Great Revel is on the battlefield and I cast Rouse the Mob, targeting two creatures and paying its strive cost. Do I take 2 damage?

A: Yes, you do. Even though effects like Strive, Arcane Melee, or Dream Halls change how much mana you might end up paying for a spell, the "mana cost" of that card is always and forever only what's listed in the top right-hand corner of the card. (Unless it's from Future Sight, because crazy future cards! Woo!) And a card's "converted mana cost" is the total amount of mana listed in that mana cost.

No matter how you strive, Eidolon of the Great Revel will look up in that top right-hand corner, see a converted mana cost of 1, and proceed to burn you in the face.

Q: Can I cast a bestow creature as a aura at instant speed using Savage Summoning? If so, can it be countered? What about the +1/+1 counter?

A: In fact, you can do that! Savage Summoning checks the type of card you're casting before you actually start casting it, which is well before you decide whether or not to pay the bestow cost of your spell and turn it into an Aura instead.

Your bestowed Aura will also still be uncounterable, and will still enter the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it, though as an Aura that counter won't actually mean anything at the moment. It'll still be there, though, just lying in wait, waiting for the moment when your bestowed Aura will turn back into a creature and it can duly get its +1/+1 bonus.

Q: I have out Ink-treader Nephilim and some creatures with heroic. If I target the Nephilim with a spell, will the copies trigger all my heroics?

A: Nope. The copies the Nephilim makes may be targeting your heroic creatures, but the heroic ability triggers only when you cast a spell targeting your creature, and the copies were never cast—they were just put onto the stack directly.

Q: Is there any way I can use Inside Out on an Ornithopter so that it can deal damage before it dies, or will it die before it can deal damage?

A: Not unless you have some way of boosting its power so that Inside Out doesn't end up killing it, and you probably don't, because if you did you wouldn't need Inside Out to try to make it deal damage in the first place.

Creatures with 0 or less toughness die immediately, before any player can do anything and well before the game can move on and have attacking and blocking creatures deal damage in combat. Once Inside Out finishes resolving, your Ornithopter will be a 2/0, and will die right away.

Q: I don't understand why Karametra doesn't trigger upon her own casting, when a card like Grapeshot can. In both cases, casting the spell meets the conditions for the card's trigger, so why does Grapeshot trigger for itself, but Karametra doesn't? I'm assuming the reasoning has something to do with Karametra being a permanent card?

A: Pretty much—it has to do with the rules for where the abilities on a card—any card—function. In general, abilities on a permanent card like Karametra only function while that card's on the battlefield. The reason for this is clear—we don't want a Glorious Anthem in your opponent's graveyard to still be giving all her creatures +1/+1. This applies not just to static abilities like the Anthem, but also to activated abilities and triggered abilities—you can't sacrifice creatures to a Viscera Seer or gain life from a Soul Warden when they're in your graveyard.

There are exceptions to this, of course—if an ability says it works somewhere else, or could only possibly make sense working from somewhere else, like Nether Spirit, Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, or Simian Spirit Guide, it does so. But in general, if an ability on a permanent card makes sense working from the battlefield, and doesn't say otherwise, it only functions while the card's on the battlefield.

So looking at Karametra's ability again, it's clear that the ability works just fine while she's on the battlefield. So, since it works fine while she's on the battlefield and doesn't specify otherwise, it works only when she's on the battlefield. And when you cast Karametra, she's not on the battlefield yet (she's on the stack), so her ability isn't functioning, and doesn't trigger.

Grapeshot's storm ability, on the other hand, specifically says that it triggers when you cast that particular card. The only way that that ability could ever make sense is if it functions while the card's on the stack. So that's where it functions.

You could even use this one!
Q: I've built a deck I'm very pleased with and in it I have four Fog. Now three of my Fogs are M14, but one is M13. Other than the expansion symbol the cards are identical, but as M13 is no longer legal in Standard does this mean I couldn't use the M13 Fog in a Standard tournament?

A: Absolutely not. If a card has been printed (or reprinted) in a set that's legal in a particular format, all versions of that card are legal in that format, no matter when those versions were printed. (As long as they're black- or white-bordered and have normal card backs, anyway.) You can use your M13 Fog in Standard just fine.

Q: If a player announces he's going into combat, then another player cast an instant before combat step. Does the first player have the ability to not proceed into his combat step or simply decide to stay in his first main phase?

A: Not unless he was exceedingly explicit in asking the second player if they wanted to do anything in his precombat main phase, before the game moved on to the combat phase, and/or the second player was exceedingly explicit that they wanted to do things there too. (And here's a hint: that happens pretty much never.)

As far as the tournament rules are concerned, any sort of statement anywhere along the lines of "Going into combat?" or "Attacks?" or "Combat?" is an indication that the player wishes to pass priority until their opponent has priority in the beginning of combat step. And if the opponent then takes some action, it's assumed that that's when they're acting. If either player wants to deviate from these assumptions, they need to be very explicit about what they're doing. (I'd recommend calling a judge first, and explaining to them just what you want to do and why before attempting it. That's how explicit you'd need to be.)

Q: I have Nomads en-Kor, Lashknife Barrier, and a 1/1 creature out, and block a 10/10 with my Nomads. Is it possible to activate the Nomads ten times in order to to redirect all ten damage points, one at a time, to the other 1/1 creature? If so, would all 10 damage points be individually prevented by Lashknife Barrier?

A: Afraid not. Nomads en-Kor may redirect just one point per activation, but it doesn't "break" the damage into separate chunks while it's doing it—all the damage that ends up going to the same creature will be dealt all at once, and the Barrier will only prevent 1 damage to that one creature.

You could, however, use the Nomads to redirect one point to each of nine other creatures. The Barrier will prevent 1 damage to each of those creatures, plus 1 to the Nomads, and end up with none left.

Q: In JBT limited, if you have Disciple of Deceit in your deck, it is obviously advantageous to know every card in your deck. So what kind of notes can you use to remember that? Can you write down your decklist in the deckbuilding part of the tournament and refer to it in a game?

A: Definitely not. You can't refer to outside notes during a game; the only notes you can refer to during a game are ones that you made during the course of the current match.

Q: ...How about writing down some of the cards you remember or see in a game and refer to it in your next game? Next match?

A: You can do the former, but not the latter. If you make a note in one game, you'll still have it available for reference later in the same match, but once the match is over, those notes become "outside notes" for the next match, and you'll have to do without them.

Q: ...And how long is acceptable to take notes at any given time? Like if you have an effect to search your library, I assume it would probably not be acceptable to write down the entire library, but like is there an actual time limit?

A: There isn't a hard time limit, but your opponent (and the judges) won't be happy if you take too long. Definitely don't try to write down the entire contents of your library—one or two relevant cards, sure, but not the whole thing. Taking too long to write notes can be penalized as Slow Play by a judge, so keep it brief.

Q: In Commander, I play my commander, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave, and he's hit with a Black Sun's Zenith for whatever amount. Later, I cast Mikaeus, the Unhallowed out, then re-cast Skullbriar. Would the Undying bring Skullbriar to a 1/1? (Comes out, hits grave, come back with a +1/+1 counter, hits grave, Comes back with a +1/+1, hits grave, rinse, repeat until all -1/-1 counters are gone.)

A: Nope. The first time Skullbriar enters the battlefield off of Undying, it'll have 0 toughness as well as both a +1/+1 and -1/-1 counter. The game kills it at the same time it removes the counter, so as far as Undying is concerned, when it left the battlefield it had a +1/+1 counter on it. Undying won't trigger, so it won't return a second time. (I recommend putting it back into the command zone instead of your graveyard.)

You can use this trick to slowly remove the counters one by one, removing one counter each time you recast your Skullbriar from the command zone, but depending on how many counters there are, that might take a long time and a lot of mana.

Q: I'm hoping to get clarification on cards like Nightveil Specter and Prophetic Flamespeaker. After combat damage, the cards are of course exiled. However, if you choose to cast the exiled card, does it then go to the graveyard?

A: Absolutely; well, assuming they're instants or sorceries, anyway. If they were permanents they'd go onto the battlefield.

The spells you're casting from exile are being cast exactly the same as the cards you might cast from your hand, and like any normal instant or sorcery spell, they'll go to the graveyard once they're done resolving. If the Specter/Flamespeaker wanted them to go elsewhere, it'd have to specify otherwise, like Sins of the Past does.

Q: I cast Banisher Priest, and target one of my opponent's creatures when it enters the battlefield. I then activate Bazaar Trader and give control of the Priest to that opponent. I then un-morph Willbender. Can I change the target of the exile ability to the Banisher Priest? What happens when the ability resolves?

A: Yes, you can do that; once triggered, the exile ability is independent of the Priest itself, and you control it, so once you Trade off the Priest, it is indeed a "creature an opponent controls" and thus a legal potential target. When the ability resolves, the Priest will be exiled, which immediately ends the duration of the effect and returns the Priest to the battlefield under its owner's (your) control.

Effectively you just created a very inefficient Momentary Blink for yourself, I can only assume in an attempt to drive your opponents insane. Congratulations.

Q: I was wondering if you have to keep revealing your hand after a card such as Thoughtseize is played and resolved. If they select a card are you allowed to pick up your hand immediately even if they haven't written down your entire hand yet? What are the parameters of such a situation?

A: While there aren't any absolutes or hard-and-fast rules regarding it, if you try that you're going to be a jerk. You need to give your opponent a chance to finish taking his notes before moving on. If you feel your opponent's taking an unreasonable amount of time taking his notes, you can call a judge, but him picking a card doesn't give you free rein to yank your hand back out of sight before he can pick up a pencil.

And that's it from us for the season, so come back next week when we'll be doing whatever we do in summer!

- Callum Milne

About the Author:
Callum Milne is a Level 2 judge from British Columbia, Canada. His home range is Vancouver Island, but he can be found in the wild throughout BC and also at GPs all along the west coast of North America.

With the Dictate of Erebos question, if Feast of Dreams is cast in response to the Scarhide, shouldn't it still be on the stack when the Dictate trigger resolves? Order on stack being Scarhide targeting Grim Guardian, Feast of Dreams targeting Guardian, Feast resolves and kills Guardian, Dictate triggers, Dictate trigger resolves, then Scarhide resolves and ETB as a creature?
#1 • Date: 2014-05-26 • Time: 07:01:55 •
If Feast was cast in response to the Scarhide, that is how it would play out.

However, in the question, the bestowed aura is already in play, and the Feast is being cast in response to the opponent playing another creature
#2 • Date: 2014-05-26 • Time: 08:05:13 •
Outside notes rule doesn\'t look right. Don\'t you think own decklist could be an exception?

Last edited on 2014-05-27 01:07:54 by nps
#3 • Date: 2014-05-27 • Time: 00:50:45 •
From a rules designer perspective, I agree with nps. But the ruling given is accurate.
#4 • Date: 2014-05-27 • Time: 05:00:49 •

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